Robin’s-egg blue highlights this account of an American robin family’s year.
Cole uses thin black lines and crosshatching to limn the tree, the tree branch from which a male robin sings in early spring, the responding female, and the nest they build. The first pages are entirely black and white; the first hint of color appears as a blue-washed sky behind the tree as the birds begin their nest; two page turns reveal the familiarly colored egg, its bright color contrasting arrestingly with its black-and-white surroundings. Then there are two, three, four eggs and the mother robin’s patient incubation. After the nestlings hatch, a 12-panel spread shows the adult birds flying back and forth with insects and worms for the babies. First a storm and then a hungry snake provide suspense, but the parents shelter and defend their chicks successfully. Eventually the young robins fledge. “Soon they grow strong and can feed themselves. Their wings take them anywhere they want to go.” Cole varies the design from vignettes and panels to full- and double-page spreads. Sometimes viewers are close up; at other times they see the scenes from a distance. The relatively simple text, expressed in short sentences, is very accessible, and the natural history, ending with fall berries and the overwintering family, is accurate. Aimed at a younger audience than Eileen Christolow’s Robins (2017), this conveys essential information without the other title’s anthropomorphism.
Beautiful, informative, and appropriate to the audience. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 3-7)